During the 1990’s, several large-scale, highly effective after-school programs made their mark in California. Building on their success, in 2002, leaders in education and law enforcement joined with after-school advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger to persuade the California electorate to pass Proposition 49, the After-school Safety and Education Act. This ballot measure manifested an historic commitment—far exceeding that of any other state—to put after-school programs in schools throughout California.
In 2007, the State began allocating $550 million in support of programs in over 4,000 of California’s 6,500 elementary and middle schools (predominantly in low-income neighborhoods)—up from 1,000 programs the year before. The same year, the Foundation made a four-year commitment, the After-School subprogram, to help the after-school programs and key public agencies move from the start-up phase into more established, durable systems and collaborations that support the increasing effectiveness of the State’s extraordinary investment in expanded learning for school-aged children.
During the same period, increasing public concern with the achievement gap brought more attention to “summer learning loss”, a well-documented phenomenon describing setbacks in academic achievement among children who lack enriching summer experiences at home, in the community, or at school. In response, the Foundation expanded its After-School subprogram to include summer, renaming it the After-School and Summer Enrichment subprogram in 2008. The goal was to build on California’s public investment by supporting expansions of school-based, after-school programs into summer for the benefit of 50,000 children.
Through these expansions, the Foundation hopes to demonstrate emerging best practices and create momentum for greater community and K-12 support for summer enrichment programs so that this key opportunity for children becomes the norm. While flexible and diverse, all of the Foundation-supported summer programs focus on literacy, experiences in the outdoors, and good nutrition and fitness.
The Foundation’s seven-year Summer Enrichment Strategy supports the overall development and improvement of after-school and summer programs.
The Foundation does not fund projects that influence specific legislation or ballot measures. We also do not fund direct service programs (individual after-school or summer programs) or research unrelated to specific needs identified by program staff in consultation with grantees in the field.